I’ve started a clippings file of stories like this, the kind that make me ask myself what kind of world we’re living in, for a writing project I’m just starting to work on. I’ve written about the mob who killed a man in Texas, and the people in Minnesota who stepped over a dying woman to make their convenience store purchases. This next story falls in to the same category. But not because of what happened to the victims.
Mother and son huddled together, battered and beaten, in the bathroom — sobbing, wondering why no one came to help. Surely the neighbors had heard their screams. The walls are thin, the screen doors flimsy in this violence-plagued housing project on the edge of downtown.
For three hours, the pair say, they endured sheer terror as the 35-year-old Haitian immigrant was raped and sodomized by up to 10 masked teenagers and her 12-year-old son was beaten in another room.
Then, mother and son were reunited to endure the unspeakable: At gunpoint, the woman was forced to perform oral sex on the boy, she later told a TV station.
Afterward, they were doused with household cleansers, perhaps in a haphazard attempt to scrub the crime scene, or maybe simply to torture the victims even more. The solutions burned the boy’s eyes.
The thugs then fled, taking with them a couple of hundred dollars’ worth of cash, jewelry and cell phones.
In the interview with WPTV, the mother described how she and her son sobbed in the bathroom, too shocked to move. Then, in the dark of night, they walked a mile to the hospital because they had no phone to call for help.
It’s not even that no one came to help them, or even bothered to call for any kind of help. It’s this response:
“So a lady was raped. Big deal,” resident Paticiea Matlock said with disgust. “There’s too much other crime happening here.”
The article goes on to talk about the grinding poverty of the residents in the housing project where this happened, and I think that the bigger picture behind that plays a significant role in the “big deal” response to this particular crime. If you pull back to the 10,000 foot view, what does this say about us?